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Advancing Family Theories
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Advancing Family Theories


© 2005 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Making a strong case for the importance of theory in social science, the author argues that theories on the family would assist understanding across cultural contexts and variations."
Savithri Subramanian, CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY


"A perfect companion text for graduate courses on family theories. It is refreshing to have a single author pull no punches in articulating a viewpoint on where we have gone astray in family theory and how we can find our way again. Jim White has accomplished the nearly impossible mission of being informative, balanced, clear, and provocative at the same time."-William J. Doherty, University of Minnesota

"Professor White has written a 'must-read' book for anyone interested in family theory. This well-written and timely text . . . tackles difficult topics head on, offering pragmatic solutions and nicely nuanced insights. Advancing Family Theories is exactly the sort of book that lends itself well to both the classroom and more specialized theoretical and empirical work."

-Jay Teachman, Western Washington University

How can the study of families be scientific? What is the difference between postmodern and positivistic approaches? What is the role of models and metaphors in constructing our theoretical knowledge? In Advancing Family Theories, author James M. White addresses such difficult questions that have been longstanding issues within the field of family studies and examines these matters from a social science perspective.

Advancing Family Theories
explores two contemporary theories of the family-rational choice theory and transition theory. These diametrically different approaches illuminate what differing theories reveal about families. The book also discusses how meta-theories can assist in building and refining theory and offers insight on the "understanding versus explanation" debate. Advancing Family Theories gives students a precise notion of what a theory is and how theories work in research. The book not only looks at philosophical realms but also examines particular substantive theory to explain and predict family behaviors.

Key Features

  • Uses a theme of "models and metaphors" to unite what often seems to be conflicting approaches to theory and context
  • Allows readers to view differing research as theoretical and complementary rather than competitive and exclusive
  • Shows how to develop thesis research questions and how to identify theory relevant to substantive research interests

Advancing Family Theories is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on family theory, research, and methods. It is an excellent supplement to Family Theories, Third Edition (SAGE, 2008), or is effective on its own. The book helps students with the task of taking abstract and very general theories and reducing them to a level of specific research models and hypotheses.

 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
1. Introduction
 
Part I: Understanding Theory: Product and Process
 
2. Family Theory and Social Science
 
3. Science and Its Critics
 
4. Theory, Models, and Metaphors
 
5. Functions and Types of Theory
 
Part II: Advancing Substantive Family Theory
 
6. Rational Choice Theory and the Family
 
7. Transition Theory
 
Part III: Beyond Theory: Ethics, Ideology, and Metatheory
 
8. Empirical Research and Theory
 
9. Theory and Human Values
 
10. Conclusion: Theories as Tools for Studying Families
 
References
References
References
 
Author Index
 
Subject Index
 
About the Author


"Professor White has written a ‘must-read’ book for anyone interested in family theory. This well-written and timely text . . . tackles difficult topics head on, offering pragmatic solutions and nicely nuanced insights. Advancing Family Theories is exactly the sort of book that lends itself well to both the classroom and more specialized theoretical and empirical work."

Jay Teachman
Western Washington University

"A perfect companion text for graduate courses on family theories. It is refreshing to have a single author pull no punches in articulating a viewpoint on where we have gone astray in family theory and how we can find our way again. Jim White has accomplished the nearly impossible mission of being informative, balanced, clear, and provocative at the same time."

William J. Doherty
University of Minnesota


"This book fills an important niche in the family literature. Books on family theory often focus on describing a variety of conceptual frameworks; this book spotlights the process of theorizing. Beginning with an in-depth discourse on the philosophy of science and a history of theory development in the family field, White wrestles with the vital question of how we develop theory in a post-positivist world. It is a valuable source for seasoned scholars as well as for students who are just being introduced to family theories."

Dale Hawley, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Stout

"Making a strong case for the importance of theory in social science, the author argues that theories on the family would assist understanding across cultural contexts and variations." 

Savithri Subramanian

The information within text in this book relates very well to the course working with families involves.
The book has been purchased within the library and will be available for learners to use.
Valuable resource for all levels working with families.

Mrs Karen Cooke
childhood studies, North Manchester Community College
May 13, 2015

Easy to follow and informative. Really good book for students interested in family changes and theories

Miss Johanne Child
early years, Wakefield College
May 7, 2015

A well organised critical introduction to the topic.

Dr Stephen Brown
School of Applied Social Sciences, Brighton University
October 11, 2012

A well-written text that explores family theory including difficult subject matter.

Mrs Lesley Prowse
Education , Sandwell College
November 24, 2009
Key features
  • A theme of "models and metaphors" unites what often seem to be discrepant approaches (e.g., qualitative vs quantitative; modern vs. postmodern; etc.) into gradations of theory and context, encouraging students to see all forms of research as theoretical and complementary rather than competitive and exclusive.
  • Encourages students to develop tolerance and scientific skepticism and a pluralistic view rather than religious adherence to a single theoretical perspective.
  • A single-authored text by an instructor with over 20 years experience teaching advanced theories courses and writing about theory, this book is written for classroom use, with a unity of perspective that assists student learning.

For instructors

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Select a Purchasing Option


Paperback
ISBN: 9780761929055
$91.00

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.